The duty of a healthcare physician is not confined only in the therapy of his sufferers, but also there are numerous other duties to be performed. A single amongst them is death diagnosis, and in case of any unnatural death, reporting the exact same to the concerned authorities. When a particular person losses consciousness, a physician must examine the victim to diagnose the situation and to do the needful. If the victim is dead, it is the physicians duty to declare that the particular person is dead. If a physician is not readily available at the web page, the predicament has to be handled even by a layman. Therefore it is pretty crucial to know the standard strategies of initially-help and death diagnosis.

We all know that, death is the termination of the biological functioning of the living organism. It is the ultimate of each living creature on the earth. After we are born, it is definite that one particular day our soul will leave the material physique for ever. Scientifically, death is due to comprehensive and irreversible cessation of the important functions of the brain, heart, and lungs.


The death happens in two stages: 1.Somatic, systemic or clinical death two.Cellular or molecular death

In somatic death, even though life ceases in the organism as a entire, it can persist in distinctive physique components, organs, tissues and cells. The physique cells can survive for varying periods and can respond to many chemical, thermal and electrical stimuli. The period of survival of cells depends upon the oxygen demand. And when the cells and tissues die, it is regarded as molecular death. Generally, molecular death is comprehensive inside three to four hours of somatic death. Nonetheless, in popular parlance, death signifies somatic death.

WHAT CAUSES DEATH? Irrespective of the remote causes, a particular person dies as a outcome of failure of any one particular of these organs like brain, heart, lung. This is known as the proximate result in of death. The remote causes may possibly be due to injury, infection, blood loss, poisoning, drugs, tumors, malnutrition, dehydration, starvation and so on. A sudden death may possibly be due to failure of systems like cardiovascular, respiratory, CNS, abdominal, endocrinal, iatrogenic, specific instances in kids, malnutrition, illness, accident, injury, predation, suicide, homicide, war, and also due to some indeterminate causes.

Indicators OF DEATH The indicators of death can be studied beneath 3 headings: Quick indicators, early indicators and late indicators.

Quick indicators: These indicators indicate somatic or clinical death. – Insensibility (Loss of sensation, movements and reflexes) – Loss of EEG rhythm – Cessation of circulation indicated by flat ECG and absence of respiration.

But indicators like loss of sensation, movements, loss of respiration, absence of pulse and heart sounds and so on are also noticed in circumstances like prolonged fainting attacks, vagal inhibition, epilepsy, narcosis, electrocution. Therefore, such indicators cant be regarded with cent % surety. They could on the other hand be taken as conclusive only when related with total loss of EEG rhythm for a continuous period of five minutes and a flat ECG for five minutes.

Early indicators: These indicators denote molecular or cellular death, which stick to about 12 to 24 hours. – Algor motris: It is the cooling of the physique soon after death. – Postmortem lividity: It is the discoloration soon after death. It begins inside 1 to three hours and gets fixed in six to eight hours. – Rigor mortis: It is the stiffness of physique soon after death. It begins two to three hours soon after death and requires 12 hours to create, persists for yet another 12 hours, and requires 12 hours to pass off entirely.

Late indicators: These indicators represent the decomposition or decay of the dead physique, or in specific scenarios, modification of the dead physique into adipocere or mummification. Late indicators stick to soon after about 24 hours. The putrefaction of the physique is indicated by the look of greenish discoloration which seems 12 to 24 hours soon after death. Marbling is the network like markings on the skin, which comes soon after 12 hours and becomes prominent in 36 to 48 hours soon after death. Maggots also begins appearing as a outcome of putrefaction.

BRAIN DEATH It is the irreversible finish of all cerebral activity, but brain stem is nevertheless functioning. When the brain death happens, the victim can be kept alive by sustaining the functioning of heart and lungs with the assist of sophisticated instruments and some drugs. The physique can survive by sustaining the provide of the oxygenated blood to the brain stem. When the brain stem also stops functioning, it is taken as a important indication of death.

SUSPENDED ANIMATION This situation is also known as apparent death. Right here the important functions of the physique are at such a low pitch that they cant be detected by routine solutions of clinical examination. Suspended animation may possibly persist for a handful of seconds to numerous minutes. This situation can be noticed in apparently drowned, newborn, soon after anesthesia, cerebral concession, electrocution, heatstroke, mesmeric trance, overdose of barbiturates, opium, deep shock and so on. Suspended animation can be revived by resuscitation strategies.

DIAGNOSIS OF DEATH Diagnosis of death is not straightforward when it is performed quickly soon after death, specially by a inexperienced particular person. Hardly ever, some difficulty can be raised due to suspended animation, excessive doses of sedatives and hypnotics, hypothermia, alcohol intoxication and so on. When you are asked to do the death diagnosis, the predicament must be handled skillfully. The space exactly where the victim is resting must not be overcrowded. Permit only a handful of men and women to be present at the web page. There must be suitable light, air entry and absolutely free from noises and other disturbances.

Inspection: The inspection must be completed in a handful of seconds with out wasting a great deal time. Appear at the victim from head to foot and appear for any physique movements of chest, abdomen, wings of nose and so on. Then really feel the radial pulse. If it is not felt, go for carotid pulse lateral to the thyroid cartilage (under no circumstances press each carotids at the exact same time, really feel only one particular side with out a great deal pressing). Then take the stethoscope and auscultate the chest for heart sounds and respiratory sounds. If there is sings of cardiorespiratory failure, give mouth to mouth or mouth to nose respiration along with external cardiac massaging to resuscitate the cardio-respiratory function.

If no response even soon after the cardiac resuscitation, it is the physicians duty to confirm death of the victim. After once more confirm the cessation of respiration by maintaining the stethoscope on chest/larynx for five minutes and also cessation of cardiac activity by maintaining stethoscope on the precordium for five minutes. Feather test can be completed to see for any existing of air by means of the nose. Open the eyelids and move the head from side to side. If the eyeball is fixed and moves along with the head, it is a sign of death.

Take a clinical torch and verify the eye for pupillary constriction when the light enters the eye. When the physique dies, the pupil dilates and the cornea looses its glossy look. But this may possibly not be clear quickly soon after death. And in these who are getting eye lesions specially the aged with diabetes, the findings may possibly be confusing. When a particular person dies, the pallor seem in a handful of minutes. Appear for the capillary filling soon after blanching the victim’s nails. In a dead physique, the capillary refilling is not noticed.

In case of doubt ECG and EEG monitoring can be completed. A flat ECG for five minutes is an accepted proof of death. Absence of EEG waves for 5 minutes confirms death. Nonetheless, EEG and ECG are not necessary to give a death certificate considering the fact that death diagnosis is probable by clinical examination in majority of instances. Nonetheless, these tests are getting a confirmatory worth.


Legal elements of death varies amongst distinctive nations. There are distinction in opinion on the definition of brain death. Nonetheless, as per the modern day pondering, a particular person is presumed to be dead if he cant spontaneously pickup and survive when the artificial signifies are withdrawn. The irreversible brain harm can be confirmed by a flat EEG.

In case of any indicators of unnatural death or when the death is unexpected, the result in of death has to be confirmed by a medico-legal autopsy. Unnatural death may possibly be an accident, suicide, homicide, or even may possibly be a all-natural death but unexpected and taken location beneath doubtful situations. All instances of unnatural death instances must undergo a medico-legal autopsy to determine the precise result in of death, time of death, position of the physique at the time of death and so on. Therefore it is the duty of a healthcare practitioner to inform the authorities anytime he comes across any unnatural death.